Aizawl, February 7: The Mizoram government is currently undertaking a census of Myanmarese nationals, who took refuge in the North-eastern state after fleeing their country following a military coup in February last year, a senior minister said on Monday.
Around 18,000 people from Myanmar are now staying in Mizoram and they will be provided with identity cards by the state administration, Home Minister Lalchamliana said.
“We want to maintain proper documentation of the Myanmarese nationals for which a census is currently being conducted by district administrations where they have taken shelter,” he told PTI.
According to Lalchamliana, around 2,000 more people reportedly entered the state in the last one week in the wake of violent clashes between the Myanmar army and civilian defence forces in Chin state.
A large section of the people of Myanmar who have taken refuge in the state belong to the Chin, also known as the Zo, community. They share the same ancestry and culture as the Mizos of Mizoram. Chin is also a state in western Myanmar.
“With this fresh influx, about 18,000 Myanmar nationals are currently staying in different parts of Mizoram,” Lalchamliana said quoting the police record.
He said that the state government has so far released Rs 80 lakh to help the refugees on humanitarian ground as the Centre could not directly provide assistance to them.
India is not a signatory to the UN Convention on refugees.
Of the 11 districts of Mizoram, Champhai has the highest number of Myanmarese people at 7,810, followed by Lawngtlai (3,761) and Aizawl (1,916). Saitual district hosts the lowest number of such refugees at 53, official sources said.
The Myanmar nationals have been lodged at community halls, schools, relief camps set up by NGOs and villagers while many were also accommodated by their local relatives.
Six Mizoram districts – Champhai, Siaha, Lawngtlai, Serchhip, Hnahthial and Saitual- share a 510 km long international border with Myanmar’s Chin state. (PTI)